Housed within the University of British Columbia Department of Geography, the UBC Urban Studies Lab (UBC USL) serves as an interdisciplinary hub for critical urban theory and practice. Our mission is to bring together teams of social scientists, humanities scholars and hard scientists to pursue projects that contribute to the cultivation of social justice in the city. Our two major streams of theory and practice are urban digital culture and urban environmental planning. Under the supervision of Professor Elvin Wyly and CCIS Executive Director Luke Barnesmoore, the UBC USL represents the UBC node of a broader project bringing together the UBC Geography Department, the UBC Urban Studies Program and a number of firms and nonprofits including the Center for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies 501(c)3, Energy Productivity LLC. and MettaCom to investigate and provide solutions for the many social and environmental issues facing contemporary society and the regimes of theory and practice from which they rise. 

UBC USL - Technology

UBC USL Tech is the technology-oriented stream of the UBC USL. Our technology research centers on issues of digital culture with a focus on algorithms in society. From software based data analytics methods in the social sciences and digital humanities to more nuanced philosophical questions concerning the nature of algorithmic epistemology, our work attempts to elucidate the great transformations of contemporary society associated with the rise of artificial intelligence, robotics and noospheric digital culture. 

"The central mission of CCIS is to mobilize the exponential advances in open-source data processing possibilities to refine and synthesize critical theories in philosophy, international relations, sociology, cultural studies, geography, and urban studies. Data and information are co-evolving, at an accelerating pace, with the processes by which groups form ‘publics’ and share consciousness in dynamic online discourse communities--which in turn interact in and with the physical settings of cities and suburbs that are at once familiar and yet newly transformed by the constant informational acceleration of mobile devices."

-Dr. Elvin K. Wyly, Professor of Geography, Director of the UBC Urban Studies Program and (Co)Founder-Director UBC Urban Studies Lab.

UBC USL - Permaculture, Sustainable Energy and Sustainable Construction (PSeSc)

UBC USL’s Permaculture, Sustainable Energy and Sustainable Construction (UBC USL PSeSc) is the environment-oriented stream of the UBC USL. In theoretical terms our research centers on the nexus of worldview (especially ontology), epistemology and the potentials for human-nature relations established therein. In more practical terms UBC USL PSeSc brings the insights of permaculture and alternative worldviews and environmental practices like those associated with Daoist and American Indigenous traditions to bear in the development of urban environmental planning theory and practice. 


The UBC Geographer: "CCIS, UBC Urban Studies Lab"


Research Community

Research Community

Luke R. Barnesmoore (CCIS Executive Director; PhD Candidate, UBC Department of Geography):

  • Co-Founder/Director

Elvin K. Wyly (Professor, UBC Department of Geography):

  • Co-Founder/Director

Nicole Rallis (PhD Candidate, UBC School of Community and Regional Planning):

  • Planning Theory Research Fellow

Dustin Gray (PhD Candidate, UBC Department of Geography)

  • Urban Theory Research Fellow

Wilson Mendes (PhD Candidate, UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems)

  • Indigenous Food Sovereignty Research Fellow

Lucie Irene Ashley (Masters of International Forestry, UBC Department of Forest Resources Management):

  • Environment and Sustainability Research Fellow